A to Z: The Dictionary of a Filipino Home

Commonly, we know that “bahay kubo” is a term used for a Filipino home. But aside from that, what other terms do you know about it? What are the components of a traditional Filipino home? Are they still called “living room”, “kitchen”, or “terrace”? Here is a short list of the different terms used in a Filipino home.


AZOTEA – If you are familiar of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, you would know that this is a balcony or a terrace.

BAHAY KUBO – A usual Filipino house made of different Philippine native materials such as bamboo, nipa, sawali, and “amakan”. It is composed of aswing – out windows and a tukod or “stick” to hold them in place, airy roof, and is placed a meter from the ground as a preparation against floods and other unlikely happenings.

BATALAN – This is a back terrace of a bahay kubo that mainly serves as an area for washing and other household duties.

BULWAGAN – This is a place, usually a hall, used formally as a room or family gatherings and any other formal or casual gathering.

CAIDA – Usually an entrance of the upper part of a house

CALADO – This is a carved wooden panels located between the walls and the ceiling to allow air circulation.

DESCANSO – if you notice the first few steps of a stair’s landing, they are called descanso.

ENTRESUELO – intermediate floor; this is a space under the main living area.

KAMALIG – A house or a space used for storing rice or grain; typically a grain house or a warehouse.

SENEPA – a ceiling; wooden board cover of a roof’s rafters

SILONG – literally means “belo” or “under”; this is a place or space underneath a house more specifically the space between the ground and the elevated floor of the house.

TUKOD – a long piece of stick, often made of wood, used to hold open a bahay kubo’s swing out windows.

VENTANILLAS – These are small sections under the main window which can be slid open or close to allow or block ventilation.

ZAGUAN – this is a space typically where a family’s carriage is stored.


Knowing some terms used for a Filipino home is definitely wonderful, especially if you are a Pinoy. As the world continues the progress, our terms for different things also change. Nevertheless, they will always be a part of our history, though they aren’t being used today in normal conversations.